Haiphong is a bustling port city on the Gulf of Tonkin 60 mi/95 km southeast of Hanoi, and it's Vietnam's third-largest city. Its vibrant, educated residents are open, friendly and keen to speak to tourists.

Despite its heavy industrial economy, the city does have several points of interest, including temples and pagodas (the Du Hang Pagoda is especially nice), the Hang Kenh Communal House (intricate wood sculptures and stone carvings), and a colorful flower market. It also has one of the largest casinos in Vietnam, the Do Son Casino (http://www.dosonresorthotel.com), which has seven gaming tables plus 100 slot and video-poker machines.

A side trip can be made to Bao Ha, a village famous for its wood carvers: High-quality carvings are sold there at very reasonable prices. The workmanship is impressive, and they can work to design or commission.

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